KINGSTON, March 23, 2018 - Jamaica's Constitutional Court in a major decision on Thursday, ruled that the State has violated the Constitutional rights of an accused killer by failing to try him within a reasonable time.
The Court ruled in favour of Mervin Cameron, who is charged with the 2012 murder of postal worker Barrington Davis and his companion, Patricia Barnswell.
The Constitutional Court ordered that Cameron be tried by the State on or before May 30 or the criminal charges should be stayed and Cameron freed.
The Court has also awarded damages to the accused man and reduced his bail offer to $300,000.
Cameron, who has been in custody since 2012, challenged his continued incarceration by the State without a hearing.
He was awaiting trial for the murder of Mr. Davis, who was the Deputy Chief of Security at the Postal Department and Miss Barnswell.
The couple disappeared in August 2012.
Their bodies were found the following month in a canefield in St. Catherine.
Lawyers for Cameron filed a constitutional motion last year challenging the right of the State to continue to hold him in custody, five years after he was charged.
The preliminary enquiry against Cameron stalled after the key prosecution witness failed to return to court to continue his cross examination by the defence.
Lead attorney Hugh Wildman, who filed the constitution motion, urged the three-member panel of judges - Chief Justice Bryan Sykes, Justice David Fraser and Justice Kirk Anderson - to stay the proceeding against his client and release him.
Mr. Wildman argued that Cameron's rights to a fair trial within a reasonable time have been breached by the State under the Charter of Rights Act.
In its ruling on Thursday, the Constitutional Court agreed by a split majority, with Chief Justice Sykes dissenting.
- Countries: Jamaica